Embossing just makes everything better, doesn’t it? Especially handmade greeting cards! I’d like to show you my favorite alternative to running craft foil sheets through embossing folders in a machine – it’s all about covering raised elements with aluminum tape from the hardware store. You can customize your own card design this way, and the process of rubbing down the tape into all the nooks and crannies is quite relaxing — like doodling!
Your beautiful “embossing” will look great on a greeting card, an art panel, or even a cute little treasure box. Tint and distress your DIY card with alcohol inks or just accent the silver tone with permanent markers to add extra color.
Embossed-Look Handmade Cards
- 2” wide aluminum tape with paper liner
- Craft glue
- Soft plastic or rubber-handled paintbrush or stylus
- Textural elements such as punchinella, window screen mesh, twine, diecuts
- Alcohol inks or permanent markers
1. Trim cardstock to the desired size for your project. Choose several raised elements – something for the background and the foreground. Make sure the height of these elements is only about 1/16” or less to prevent tearing the aluminum tape.
2. Arrange and glue your elements to the cardstock and let dry. Consider how the tape seams on your panel (every two inches) will affect your arrangement.
3. Cut lengths of aluminum tape to fit across the cardstock with an extra inch on each end (either horizontally or vertically). Carefully peel off the paper line from each strip of tape and place it (sticky side down) gently and somewhat loosely over center of the panel. Wrap and press the ends around to the back.
4. Repeat with more tape strips to cover the whole panel, overlapping the seams about 1/8”. Once covered, gently press and rub the tape with your fingers to mold it into the raised elements. Keep your fingernails out of the way to prevent tearing the tape. Smooth out any wrinkles and creases.
5. Use the end of a soft rubber-handled paintbrush to continue pressing the tape into all the small areas of the panel. I worked with a few different sizes and shapes of brush handles to enhance the round spaces versus straight lines in the design.
6. Add color as desired with alcohol inks or permanent markers. For the love greeting card (as pictured above step 3), I used the marker to color in just a few of the hearts. For another project, I made a crown panel for a little wood box. I just dabbed at the foil with the pink and blue inks on a felt applicator to get a distressed look.